21-year-old woman becomes youngest in US to receive face transplant

Faith Castro
August 17, 2018

"Her face is gone", he recalled thinking at the time.

Before her suicide attempt, as Stubblefield told writer Joanna Connors, she never saw herself as attractive.

In her senior year, she had her appendix and her gallbladder taken out as she continued to battle with digestive issues.

The series of events is what set Stubblefield on a path to become the youngest ever recipient of a face transplant at 21.

Prior to this life-changing surgery, Ms. Stubblefield's story was told in a National Geographic documentary and made it as their magazine's September cover story, titled Story of a Face.

Her story has been told in a new National Geographic documentary and its Story of a Face magazine cover story following the historic procedure previous year.

Katie was discharged from Cleveland Clinic on August 1, 2017. She lost parts of her forehead, her nose and sinuses, her mouth (except for the corner of her lips), and the bones that make up the jaws and front of the face.

The final straw came when she discovered that her boyfriend was texting another girl and they subsequently ended their relationship.

Left: Stubblefield family photo. Right: Photo by Martin Schoeller.

Katie now hopes to attend college and have a family and career one day, the page added.

A suicide-attempt survivor is getting a second chance after receiving a historic face transplant. While her doctors first focused on reconstruction to fix the damage she had done to her face, they were able to replace her face with one from a donor - although the entire process spanned three years.

"We think her story is one of the most important stories that we will do this year". We're so happy to report that the transplant was successful - what a miracle!

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Gastman said that in his 27 years of training and practice this was one of the worst face traumas he'd ever seen.

A young woman is making history by using her personal story of struggle and dedication to raise awareness about the potential consequences of suicide.

Stubblefield doesn't remember the suicide attempt or any of the surgeries that followed to help mend her face.

Meanwhile, her parents, who both worked as teachers at her school, were made redundant.

National Geographic documented the journey in photographs.

"I felt so guilty that I had put my family through such pain".

She underwent the transplant in Cleveland, Ohio, which involved using a 3D printed jaw.

The operation was the Cleveland Clinic's third face transplant and the 40 in the world.

"I had no clue what a face transplant was", she said.

Ms Stubblefield waited for a transplant for over a year, before a matching donor was found.

"Knowing this patient now has the opportunity to live a functional life because of her face transplant is the greatest reward", Dr. Gastman, said in a statement. "She can try to save other young lives". Get all the details on her groundbreaking surgery here. "So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people", she told the magazine. She has said that she doesn't remember much of that year - including being hospitalized in Oxford, Mississippi; being flown to another hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; and then being transferred to Cleveland Clinic in OH, where she would undergo her face transplantation three years later. And now Katie has a mission in her life.

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